Abstract and Keywords
This chapter examines the debate about multiculturalism in political theory. It traces the emergence of a philosophical literature to justify policies enacted by contemporary liberal democratic states that seek to fairly accommodate cultural diversity and remedy racial injustice. It traces the origins of the contemporary philosophical debate about multiculturalism (particularly in the United States and Canada) to the communitarian critique of theories of liberal neutrality that emphasized individual freedom and autonomy at the expense of collective membership. The liberal–communitarian debate culminated in liberal defenses of minority group rights that emphasize the centrality of culture and group membership to individual autonomy. The essay goes on to consider three remaining sources of tension in liberal multiculturalism: the question of how to reconcile commitments to gender equality and multiculturalism, the issue of how to deal with illiberal minority cultures (particularly religious groups), and the failure to adequately conceive racial justice.
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